Explore your universe

Science Oxford has been named as one of eight science centres or organisations across the UK that will participate in the next phase of a community-engagement research project being run by the UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC).

The ASDC, in partnership with the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), has been running the Explore Your Universe programme for the past two years with a mission to identify the most effective ways to engage with families in areas of socio-economic deprivation and involve communities who may not currently engage with science centres.

Phase 4 of the project, which will run from 2019-21, focuses on finding the most effective ways to work with families multiple times to build trust and include and involve those who may not currently walk through the doors of a science centre.

We will be engaging with groups of young people from Banbury, working in partnership with the town’s local youth clubs. The idea is to get them create and develop their own programmes of science activities, based on their own areas of interest.

Sophie Batin, Science Oxford’s family outreach manager, explains: “We want to build an effective collaboration with young people by showcasing different areas of STFC science with fun, hands-on activities in the clubs and encouraging them to choose their own areas of interest to develop further. That could mean visiting a university robotics lab, a space research centre or visiting our new Science Oxford centre in Headington.

Since the programme ownership sits firmly with the young people themselves, we hope that families will feel more comfortable becoming involved as it is their children and their ideas that they are responding to, rather than the ‘experts’.”

She adds, “The benefit of working with youth clubs is that it will allow us to build a relationship with the young people who go. They are already used to making decisions for themselves as part of the club and this project will make use of and extend those skills. The clubs are an existing safe space for the young people that we will be taking science into, meaning that it will not only be those who have already got involved with science related activities who feel they can participate.”

Other science organisations involved in Explore Your Universe Phase 4 are:

Aberdeen Science Centre

Cambridge Science Centre

Dynamic Earth

Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre

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